MONTREAL – Andrei Kostsitsyn scored his first NHL goal and Michael Ryder scored his team-high 13th, leading the Montreal Canadiens to a 5-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night.

Tomas Plekanec, Niklas Sundstrom and Jan Bulis also scored for Montreal, which had lost nine of 12 (3-5-4) after losing 5-3 on Saturday night to Los Angeles in the Canadiens’ first game in a week.

Phoenix ended a season-high three-game winning streak. With Phoenix down 4-0, Boyd Devereaux scored midway through the third to ruin Jose Theodore’s shutout bid. Mike Ricci scored on a scramble at 18:49.

With Coyotes coach and Team Canada general manager Wayne Gretzky looking on, Theodore outplayed another competitor for one of the three spots on Canada’s Olympic squad, making 27 saves. Curtis Joseph, chosen by Gretzky for Canada’s 2002 gold medal-winning Olympic team, stopped 23 shots.

Canadiens captain Saku Koivu and defenseman Mark Streit were out of the lineup with the flu. Koivu had hoped to return after missing three games because of a groin injury.

Recalled from Hamilton of the AHL earlier in the day, Kostsitsyn made his third appearance of the season. Limited to 0:34 of play overall in his previous two games, the 20-year-old from Belarus made the most of a rare opportunity when he put his first career shot past Joseph 6:39 in on his second and final shift of the period.

Phoenix defenseman Zbynek Michalek made a costly giveaway on Plekanec’s power-play goal at 10:55. Michalek threw the puck up the middle from behind his own net, directly to Plekanec, who drove the slot unmarked and beat Joseph with a backhand to put the Canadiens up 2-0.

Sundstrom made it 3-0 11:44 into the second when his deflection of Sheldon Souray’s shot past Joseph stood after a lengthy video review determined he made contact with the puck no higher than the level of the crossbar.

Ryder scored for the second straight game, beating Joseph 6:29 into the third to increase the lead to 4-0.

Theodore lost his bid for his first shutout of the season moments later as Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek got his stick on Devereaux’s shot. The puck fluttered and changed speeds, and Theodore misjudged its flight as it slipped under his right arm and dropped behind him into the net.

The Montreal goalie made two stops before surrendering Phoenix’s second goal as Ricci swatted the puck under the sprawled Theodore with 1:11 remaining.

Bulis finished off a 2-on-1 with Richard Zednik at 19:05.

Notes: Coyotes RW Mike Johnson ended a six-game point streak. Johnson had five goals and four assists during the streak. … Kostsitsyn, limited to 0:54 of ice time in the first, finished with 6:49 in eight shifts overall. … Montreal has sold out each of its 17 home games this season. … Canadiens C Radek Bonk missed his third straight game with a groin injury.

AP-ES-12-13-05 2211EST


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